Fancy dress, Dress ups, and an excuse to be silly

Jack-o-latern

Jack O'Lantern Image via Wikipedia

Where I grew up, Hallowe’en was huge. Kids competed for best costume that would fit overtop of the raingear.  We travelled in packs, avoiding the dentist’s house and the house with the courtyard and the old Chinese man who did nothing but scream at us for knocking on his door.  We knew the rules, too. If the porchlights were off, then the homeowners weren’t participating.  If there was a pumpkin on the doorstep but the lights were off, the house was out of candy! Trick or Treating didn’t start until 5pm and was over by 7pm.   And no eating any candy until Mom & Dad had checked it for razors and tampering.  This is an interesting article about that, by the way.

But of course, that was in Canada.  Here in NZ it’s a whole ‘nother story. Hallowe’en isn’t a culturally done thing. And, like Christmas, it really doesn’t work when the sun shines until 8pm so there’s no shadows or darkness to show up your fantastic pumpkin carving.  Not to mention that pumpkins aren’t orange here, anyways.   I’ve noticed the neighbourhood kids don’t really even bother making a decent costume. So, in our house, it’s fallen by the wayside.  Some friends of ours (one American, another spend several years in Canada) have a Hallowe’en party and we usually go to that instead.

Around the interwebz within the last couple of days, I’ve been reading a lot of anti-Hallowe’en blogs.

People are against a “dark” holiday that glorifies the evil and supernatural. They mention the commercialism in that everyone is expected to spend lots of money on a super cool costume and bags of candy that you don’t even get to eat – you have to give away to the neighbourhood kids.

And okay, I get the commercialism thing. But the whole “dark” business? From a society that televises the news, murder, rape, vampires, werewolves, and zombies, plays games called “Warcraft,” “Plants Vs. Zombies,”  and “Angry Birds” and is convinced that psychics and mediums can converse with ghosts? Heh.  As the Kiwis say, “Yeah, Nah.” Not buying it.

Don’t get me started on Samhain and All Hallow’s Eve either.  It’s not the same thing. If you’ve done your research and reading, you’d know Samhain isn’t a “dark” holiday either.  Except of course, that it’s marking a transition from long days to long nights.  I admit I giggle a bit when a church says it’s against “Pagan holidays” when the timing of Easter and Christmas  (and many of the traditions) were chosen to coincide with Ostara and Yule.

Hallowe’en is very commercial, yes.  But at the base of it, it’s really just an excuse to play dress ups and be silly, and get a bit of candy for it. You don’t want to participate? Then don’t. It’s that easy. Let other people have their fun.

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About Broot

Thoughts about learning and life that are lost in a sea of blogs.

5 responses to “Fancy dress, Dress ups, and an excuse to be silly”

  1. Callie says :

    I agree! I’m tired of hearing anti-Halloween comments. It’s such a fun occasion! And if people don’t want to participate then there’s nothing stopping them from putting a notice at their door or letterbox.
    I like your point about the stupidity of people complaining Halloween is bad when our society glorifies in violence via TV and games. I’ll remember to use that angle as my defense the next time someone harasses me for allowing my kids to participate in Halloween. 🙂

  2. susan says :

    thanks Broot for such a balanced post. I have been quite conflicted about it mainly becuase it has such a bad rap. My view is really just that I don’t think it’s a Kiwi tradition, and I would rather see something that is uniquely ours have the energy and focus on it – eg Matariki, which is growing here in my neck of the woods every year.
    I’m also not that thrilled with the idea of my kids asking for lollies.
    tonight they dressed up and played in the front yard and watched quite a few others parading around – and were quite happy with that.

    I have to agree tho – Tv is ten times worse than a few pirmary schoolers in witches hats!

  3. Blond Duck says :

    All these people are ruining the fun of Halloween!

  4. solodialogue says :

    It’s funny how different perspectives are in different places. I felt all the pressure to participate because everyone here does. There is a mindset that children (and therefore parents) must participate, have parties, wear costumes all day. My son wanted nothing to do with Halloween because of all the noises, colors, people, grabbing for candies and general confusion to him! He ended up with a fever. We stayed home. So relaxing and wonderful!! And no Halloween candy to tempt me off the diet! Yay – win for everyone! Hope that whatever you and the children chose to do, you all enjoyed it as well… 🙂

  5. Kristi says :

    I’m so with you! It’s an excuse to dress up, be silly and eat tons of candy. If it’s not hurting anyone, then what’s the big deal right?
    Thanks so much for stopping by during my SITS Day yesterday! I’m following you on Pinterest. Oh how I love Pinterest! 🙂

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